When I was an 8-year old 3rd-grader, my best friend, (Ben), was a "colored" kid. The year was 1968, and I lived in Minden, Louisiana.
VILLAGER: We have found a witch. May we burn her?
When I was 19, and a young touring musician, I spent many a night sharing a stage, a hotel room, even a bed, with either Oscar, Kevin or Raye - the three "black" guys in our band.
For the past nine years, I've had the privilege of being the trumpet player for The Bull City Horns - alongside trombonist, Clarke, and saxophonist, Vhondy - both, "African-Americans."
In just the last month, I've added three more "Persons of Color" to my other band, Cafe' Mars - Frederick, Ken and Duane - each as full members, not as mere "hirelings."
Well, in spite of my past and current friendships and musical collaborations, and no matter that my libertarian views have largely been shaped by the writings of Thomas Sowell and Walter Williams, (both African-American scholars and educators), my suppressed inner-racism seems to have been now outed by means of the punditry permeating this contentious health care debate. Over and over again I keep reading and hearing that if I don't support Obama's health care agenda, I am a racist. If I disagree with his Climate Change initiatives, I am a racist. Hell - if I take issue with anything Obama, I am a racist. Never mind that I opposed government-run health care even when it was proposed by the fat-ankled white woman who was married to President Clinton. (By current logic, I opposed nationalized healthcare in 1993 for no other reason than my predisposition against women with fat ankles.)
I've learned of my inherent racism, from columns in the New York Times, ("unconscious biases"), the Chicago Daily Herald, and by CNN's Jack Cafferty. Newsweek's recent cover story claims we are born, genetically predisposed to our racism. It's all a real head-scratcher to me. My favorite concert experience of all time? Earth Wind & Fire. My favorite golfer? Tiger. (Sorry, Jack.)
Anyway, I'm grateful to all the pundits, commentators, columnists, and Administration officials who've helped bring these personal failings to the forefront of my consciousness. I'll go to church, Sunday, make my way to the altar, and seek forgiveness . . . for my genetic predisposition. (I'd suggest all you homosexuals follow me down the aisle, and also ask God to forgive you . . . because he made you gay. Seems we were both born with a sociological problem for which we are to blame.)
I'd mistakenly assumed my previous support for the political appointments of both Colin Powell and Clarence Thomas had me in the clear of the sin of racism. I had also presumed that because I openly advocated for Condi Rice, first to run for President, and then to be added to anyone's ticket as a VP nominee surely earned me an extra punch-hole on my civil rights membership card. No matter. The fact that I did not support the correct black nominee or candidate is undeniable proof of my suppressed, yet seething racism.
Condi is a female. Certainly not the correct female, so I must also be a sexist pig. Some believe Condi is a closet lesbian. Obviously not the correct lesbo, so I am therefore also a gay-bashing homophobe. Yep, according to current wisdom, and in spite of my personal track record, I am, irrefutably, a triple-threat racist/sexist/homophobe.
My head is spinning. I feel like I'm living out a scene from Monty Python & The Holy Grail, where the logic used to determine whether or not a particular women is a witch, and therefore worthy of being burned at the stake, goes something like this:
VILLAGER: We have found a witch. May we burn her?
BEDEVERE: Quiet! Quiet! There are ways of telling whether she is a witch.
CROWD: Tell us! Tell us!
BEDEVERE: What do you do with witches?
CROWD: Burn! Burn them up! Burn!
BEDEVERE: And what do you burn apart from witches?
BEDEVERE: So, why do witches burn?
VILLAGER: Because ... they're made of ... wood?
BEDEVERE: Good! So, how do we tell whether she is made of wood?
CROWD: Uhh ...
BEDEVERE: Does wood sink in water?
VILLAGER: No, it floats! It floats!
BEDEVERE: What also floats in water?
KING ARTHUR: A duck!
BEDEVERE: Exactly. So, logically...
VILLAGER: If ... She weighs ... the same as a duck ... she's made of wood.
BEDEVERE: And therefore?
CROWD: A witch! A witch!
Seriously - I'm one confused, convoluted basket-case. I have enthusiastically supported school voucher programs, echoing the sentiment of a majority of the African-American electorate. Why is it then, while I'm in lock-step with most African-Americans on this issue, the fact that Obama (and most "leaders" in the Black community) oppose school vouchers, this most likely identifies me as a racist?
Actually, Obama was against vouchers before he was in favor of them . . . before he was against them, again - effectively making everyone on both sides of the issue a racist at one time or the other . . . I suppose. (And by the way - Obama's girls attend a private school - the same opportunity the squashed D.C. voucher program would have provided for thousands of our Capital's African-American children.)
Bottom line . . . If I don't support Obama's policies - because I don't support his "patriotic" version of Marxism - I am therefore a racist - even though I've previously and consistently opposed the original, unvarnished version of Obama's economic ideas - as promulgated by Marx, himself - a white dude.
(Oh my! Marx was a Jew. I must also be anti-Semitic!)
Sorry - but at the risk of solidifying the notion of my racism, I disagree. Instead, I'll throw my lot in with another African-American thinker:
"There is absolutely no moral case for government's taking another American's earnings, through taxes, to care for me for any reason whatsoever. Doing so is simply a slightly less offensive form of slavery. Keep in mind that the essence of slavery is the forceful use of one person to serve the purposes or benefit of another." - Walter Williams
One final thought from another of my African-American, (libertarian), heroes:
"The assumption that spending more of the taxpayer's money will make things better has survived all kinds of evidence that it has made things worse. The black family - which survived slavery, discrimination, poverty, wars and depressions - began to come apart as the federal government moved in with its well-financed programs to 'help.'" - Thomas Sowell
Frankly, I looked forward to the day an African-American would occupy the Oval Office - so long as that African-American believed in the greatness of America, and did not carry a chip on his shoulder regarding America's historical errors - and so long as that African-American president believed in the individual freedoms afforded us by the Constitution - and so long as that African-American president was not Marxist, hiding his political color behind a very thin veil. Neither will I be opposed to the day a woman is called POTUS - so long as that woman is not liken to Hillary Clinton - a white woman, whose policies I equally oppose.
In fact, if the day comes, I will gladly give my vote to an appropriately qualified African-American/Jewish/Proselyte-Mormon/Hermaphrodite, so long as he/she/it(?) understands the importance of our unalienable freedoms and individual rights, first, and does not have as his/her/its(?) economic policy something learned from a grade-school edition of Robin Hood, . . . or the Manifest der Kommunistischen.